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Pricing & Process

1. Planning For Live Music
2. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM)
3. The Entertainment Value Of Live Music
4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
5. Factors Which Affect The Cost Of Live Music
6. How Much Does Live Music Cost?
7. Contract Information

Planning For Live Music     Back To Top

Planning For Live Music Planning a special event and coordinating all the details to make it 'just perfect' can often be a daunting task. This is especially true today, as there seems to be less and less time for planning, organizing and contracting all of the different services needed to make your affair a complete success.

As part of the planning process, a good first step is to make a list separating the absolute 'essentials' for your affair from the less important 'wish list' items. Next, prioritize this list in order of importance to the success of the function and by how far in advance each item will typically need to be booked. The more advance notice you allow yourself, the easier it will be to book the top service providers. For example, although entertainment can sometimes be booked on short notice, it is very common for many top vendors to book their services a year or more in advance. This simple list will enable you to develop a manageable plan of attack and ensure that sufficient time is allowed for the most important aspects of any occasion being planned.

Inevitably, musical entertainment will reside at or near the very top of the essentials list. It has been said that the venue gives an event its complexion and the music establishes the mood and pulse of the event. Little is as important as the musical entertainment, which defines the event and provides a lasting memorable experience for your guests. Haven't we all upon occasion recalled a distant special event by hearing a particular song that was played there or heard someone comment about a 'great band' years after the fact.

The American Federation of Musicians (AFM)     Back To Top

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) is an international musicians union with 110,000 members and over 250 Locals in the United States and Canada. The AFM, founded in 1896, is an organization dedicated to furthering live music, professionalism and musician's rights in every area of the music business. AFM negotiates collective bargaining agreements and sets industry work standards, actively lobbies to promote legislation and protect musician's interests. AFM also provides several types of benefits, financial options and insurance to its membership.

For persons purchasing live musical entertainment, the AFM Seal designates AFM membership and is a symbol of quality, and commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards in the live entertainment marketplace.

To learn more about the AFM, or if you are interested in becoming a member, please visit: www.AFM.org

The Entertainment Value of Live Music     Back To Top

When looking for special event entertainment, many people today are pleasantly surprised to find that live music is more affordable then they might have initially thought.

The myth that DJ entertainment is always less expensive the live entertainment just doesn't hold true anymore. While live entertainment costs have held steady or even slightly declined over the past several years, there has been a fairly steady rise in the costs for DJ entertainment. It is true that with a DJ you will normally have less people to pay, but with the introduction of more elaborate sound systems, DJ teams, dancers, giveaway gimmicks and light shows, many DJs offer packages which are more expensive then hiring live musicians.

Most importantly, there is a fundamental reason that DJs have had to improve their offerings and consequently increase their overall cost. DJ entertainment simply does not carry the overall 'entertainment value' of a live musical performance.

This is an often overlooked but important point to consider when planning a special event. Here's why. At any special event, inevitably, your guests will be comprised of a 'mixed crowd' varying in, among other things, age, ethnicity, background as well as their desire to be reserved or outgoing. For some guests the music will spawn activity and they will spend the majority of their time on the dance floor. For others, who might have less of a desire to dance, live music provides an equally enjoyable concert or lounge-type atmosphere. The bottom line is that live entertainment is both a participatory activity and a spectator sport all rolled into one.

This is the unequalled 'entertainment value' of live music. It is clearly demonstrated by the millions of people who attend concerts, symphonies, outdoor festivals, jazz clubs, night clubs to hear live entertainers perform each year. There is an inherent power and energy in live entertainment that captivates and appeals to the audience.

So, when planning for your next event, be sure to check the prices and think about the overall 'entertainment value' you want to give your guests. Live entertainment is sure to make your special event a more memorable and satisfying experience for your guests.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)     Back To Top

BookLiveMusic enables the users to contact musicians and groups that perform all types of music for all kinds of events. Below are some frequently asked questions pertaining to the hiring of live musical entertainers. If you have a question and do not see it below, please let us know at FAQ@BookLiveMusic.com and we will add your question and response to this list.

How far in advance of the actual date should a group or solo performer be contracted?
It is a good idea to contract with a musician or bandleader as early as possible. Many musicians are booked as much as a year or more in advance of the actual performance date.

How do I know if particular musicians are available for the date in question?
Simply contact the individual musician or group leader. He or she will be happy to discuss available dates with you. Through BookLiveMusic, we recommend you email the inquiry form, which will include the date of your event.

How much will the group or solo artist cost?
The cost will vary. The exact amount will depend on the number of performers, the length of the performance (usually 3 or 4 hours), the occasion, and the popularity of the musician(s). Live music provides an exceptional entertainment value and can be more affordable then you might think. Live music makes every event special.

Can I hear a soloist or group before signing a contract?
Yes. The soloist or leader of the group will tell you when and where you may hear a performance. Most musicians also make cassette tapes, CDs and video tapes available.

How can I be sure the musician(s) won't back out at the last minute?
You should always ask for a contract, which will be furnished to you by the soloist or leader. Both the purchaser and musician must sign the contract to make it binding. Once signed, the musician is obligated to honor the contract and so is the purchaser.

What if I sign a contract and then find that I have to cancel my party or event?
A cancellation clause may be added to most musicians' contracts. This clause allows you to cancel the engagement with sufficient advance notice (agreed upon by both you and the musicians). This way, you don't get stuck and neither do the musicians.

Is it customary to feed the band?
In almost all cases, if you are having the band play for 2-4 hours or more and plan to serve a meal, it is customary to feed the entertainers. If you are having a very elaborate affair, you do not necessarily need to serve the entertainers the same ten-course meal you are proving for your guests.

Do I tip the musician or group?
While it is not required that you tip the musicians or group, as with other service provider it is customary to tip if you are very pleased with the service you receive.

Should I pay for the musician or groups parking?
At a venue that requires paid parking, it is entirely at the discretion of the party-giver whether to validate or reimburse for parking. However, if you know that the venue has particular difficulty with parking arrangements should be discussed beforehand to ensure the musicians or group will have access need to unload equipment, to ensure they will be ready to play when needed.

Can I request a special code of dress for the musician or group?
Generally speaking, the musician or group will have appropriate attire for the types of affairs they normally perform. It should be made clear upfront and stated in the contract what type of attire you would like at your special event. If your request is not out -of-the ordinary they should not be any added charge for attire. For example, it is reasonable to request musicians or groups to wear standard black tuxedos for a wedding or corporate event. However, if you request an unusual color tuxedo or particular color shirt or accessory, you should expect to be charged extra for this request.

Factors Which Affect The Cost Of Live Music      Back To Top

The cost of live music will vary considerable depending upon many different factors, including day of the week, time of day, time of year, geographical location of your event, amount of time required for set-up and breakdown, how long the musicians will be playing, how many musicians you plan to hire, as well as and any special requirements you have for the live musical entertainment.

Some of these factors are within your control and some you may have very little control over such as your geographical location and time of the year you are having your special event. However, it is important to have an understanding of these issues when planning and budgeting for your event. Therefore, each issue is discussed individually below.

1. Time of year
Generally speaking, spring summer and early fall are the busiest months for many seasonal events such as parties, weddings, outdoor fundraisers and festivals. Although many non-seasonal events require live musical entertainment throughout the year including dance clubs, conventions, birthday parties, bar(bat) mitzvahs, holiday parties and corporate events, the winter months are considered the slow time by most entertainers. Obviously, if your event is held during the slow time of year you will be able to negotiate a much better deal then in the peak months.

2. Day of the week
The day of the week also has an effect on cost for live entertainment with Saturdays being the peak day, followed by Friday and Sunday. Planning your event for off peak season and day of the week can provide substantial savings on live entertainment.

3. Time of the day
The time of the day is often overlooked as a means to influence the cost of a special event. Holding you event in the morning or afternoon may have a considerable impact on live entertainment costs. Often a morning or early afternoon engagement will enable the musician or bandleader to perform in the evening that same day, which is very desirable for most entertainers. This approach can enable you to have your event on a peak day of the week, Saturday or Sunday, without having to pay premium evening prices.

4. Location
Prices for live musical entertainment can vary depending upon the geographic location of your event. The geographic location includes the area of the country where the event is taking place as well as the accessibility of the venue within the region. While most musicians work locally, many will travel almost anywhere to perform at the right price. Normally, an hour or two for travel is expected and will not cost extra, but longer trips to out-of-the-way venues will require premiums for travel and/or lodging. Most metro area performances will be comparable, while rural area might vary slightly depending on the location.

5. Length of performance
The amount of time required for the performance will have a direct effect on the cost. Normally musicians are entitles to a fifteen-minute break per each hour of performance. Lesser break periods or fill-in music during the breaks can also be arranged with the musician or bandleader. Please also keep in mind that set-up time and breakdown time will have an effect on the cost. Venues that provide equipment such as PA systems, amps, speakers, lighting or even a piano can reduce this time and help to save costs. If you feel you might need to extend the playing time for the musician or band, negotiating a fee upfront will also provide savings.

6. Size of Group
Depending on the event you are planning, you may be able to adjust the number of musicians needed for your occasion. Ask the bandleader for help with this if the price is slightly higher then what you can afford. He may be able to substitute a more versatile singer in place of two singers or provide a more cost effective combo in lieu of a full ensemble.

7. Special Requirements
Any special requirements you may have can affect the cost for live entertainment. This items which might include, special songs you want to hear, dress code for the musicians, master of ceremonies (MC) responsibilities, etc. should be negotiated up-front and included in the contract with the musician or bandleader.

How Much Does Live Music Cost?      Back To Top

Live music today is very cost competitive and provides an excellent 'entertainment value' for all special events. There are many 'factors which affect the cost of live music' that need to be considered when planning an event. However, some typical costs for live entertainment are summarized below:

Size/Type of Group Cost Range ($ US) Comments
Soloist $ 50 - 150 per hour Vocalist or single musician
Duet $ 100 - 300 per hour Only two in group
Trio $ 150 - 450 per hour Often Strings, Brass or Jazz
Quartet $ 200 - 600 per hour Often Strings, Brass or Jazz
Small Ensemble/Band $ 300 - 800 per hour 4-6 musicians in group
Large Ensemble/Band $ 500 - 1000+ per hour 7 or more in group

Live Music Contract      Back To Top

There are many different formats for a contract with a musician or musical group. Most will have draft contracts available for you to review as you move towards finalizing your arrangement with the performer or group leader. Although these contracts may vary somewhat, the information contained in these agreements should include the following:

1) The type of event as well as the name and address of the venue that the performance will be held.

2) The date of the event as well as the time and duration of the engagement, including specifics as to when the entertainment should be ready to begin and end.

3) Name of musician or group to be performing along with specifics for the musician or group. This information might include the number of entertainers, type of instrumentation, number of vocalists as well as names of the individual entertainers in the group who will be performing.

4) Agreed upon compensation for musician or group. Compensation terms and conditions should be clearly defined including initial deposits, payment schedule, method of payment, payment for overtime, expense reimbursements and terms of payment in the event of cancellation or postponement of the engagement.

5) The agreement should have a section for additional or special provisions. This section should include special provisions which have been mutually agreed to including special songs to be played, MC responsibilities, dress code, meals, breaks and/or fill-in music to be played during breaks, additional equipment required, and/or any other special consideration your may need to make with the entertainer.

Be sure to review the entire contract including any fine print. The contract should be written in language that can be easily understood by both parties. If you have any questions, discuss and clarify the items with the musician or group leader prior to entering into the agreement. This agreement will be the basis for resolution of any disagreement that may arise between yourself and the performer(s). Therefore it is very important that you understand and agree with the all of the information contained in the contract before executing it.

When you are completely satisfied with all of the terms and conditions of the agreement both yourself and the musician or group leader will need to sign the contract to make it binding on both parties.

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